The Bag Man
starring John Cusack, Robert DeNiro, Rebecca Da Costa, Crispin Glover, Dominic Purcell and Martin Klebba
written by David Grovic and Paul Conway
directed by David Grovic
Based on the screenplay “Motel” by James Russo, The Bag Man is a twisted story - kind of like David Lynch crazy. If I had known that at first I might not have rented it since I’m not a David Lynch fan. But I was in earnest to find something new in my local DVD rental shop and I saw The Bag Man with John Cusack and Robert DeNiro both of whom are great actors, so I thought I’d give it a try. This is also one of only a handful of films I’ve seen Crispin Glover perform in. I don’t dislike him despite his notorious appearance on the Late Night With David Letterman show in New York in July 1987, but he also has a reputation for taking on weird roles and being a difficult personality. He was immediately recognizable as Ned, the manager of the motel. Ned is in a wheelchair, but right away I figured it was a fake and he’d be walking around doing God knows what later in the film. And he was.
Gangster Dragna (DeNiro) hires Jack (Cusack) to pick up and deliver a bag for him. No explanation, just a promise of a lot of money. One rule: don’t look in the bag! Jack is trustworthy and true to his word. He doesn’t look. The rendezvous is a run-down motel in the middle of nowhere (which we later learn Dragna owns and uses for various activities). Jack killed a man and was shot in the hand in turn acquiring the bag. Things get worse at the motel. The bag draws all kinds of awful people, like flies to a dead animal. Everyone wants to look in it and they will betray and murder each other for the privilege. The story takes place almost entirely in one night, so it’s dark all the time. Does that mean I can call it film noir? There’s more shooting. Bodies need to be buried. Alcohol is drunk. Jack can’t sleep. He meets Rivka (Rebecca Da Costa) who looks like a hooker, but she’s not. She’s something else … , so beware. Against his wishes and judgement Jack gets involved with her - not in bed, but in the process of trying to stay alive amongst all the flies attracted to the bag.
Writer-director David Grovic appears in a cameo at the very end of the movie as Dragna’s lawyer. I like cameos, but I didn’t like The Bag Man very much.